Research

The Linz laboratory is focused on the development of novel lab-on-a-chip technology capable of performing superior biochemical measurements compared to conventional instrumentation. The microfluidic devices that we design integrate sample preparation/preconcentration and microchip electrophoresis, gel electrophoresis, or immunoassays into a single platform to quantify our analytes of interest. Conducting experiments in this manner allows us to interrogate biological systems with unprecedented detection limits, sampling frequency, and throughput and discern biochemical information that cannot be gathered with current state of the art instrumentation. A distinct advantage of our technology lies in its broad applicability. Although we are primarily an analytical lab, our research applications span various fields including biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, and environmental science.

 

Cellular Dynamics

Biochemical signaling events can influence the functions of cells and play a large role in the onset of disease. Standard technologies are incapable of monitoring dynamic changes in cellular signaling proteins with sufficiently high temporal resolution to map the time course of protein expression. To overcome these limitations, our group utilizes microchip electrophoresis with mass spectrometric detection to monitor the dynamic levels of secreted proteins. Cells are repeatedly analyzed with high sampling frequency and mass resolution to obtain the time profile of proteins in the secretome. The information gathered from these experiments aids in elucidating the sequence of biochemical pathways activated during pathogenesis, and helps map disease etiology.

Drug Discovery

High throughput screening is a common approach for determining the bioactivity of a large number of molecules to evaluate their efficacy as potential therapeutics. A common drawback to this technique, however, is the high incidence of false positive hits in cell culture experiments. To improve the robustness of this process, our group has developed bead array immunoassays with ultra-low limits of detection to simultaneously measure multiple cellular protein targets from a single sample. This selectivity screening technology allows both on-target and off-target effects of the drug to be monitored in native, non-engineered cells prior to initiation of costly pre-clinical trials.